April 5, 2019
On this day, 5 April 2019 – celebrated as Lawyers’ Day in Turkey – 34 organizations, including Lawyers for Lawyers, take the opportunity to strongly condemn the ongoing crackdown against lawyers in Turkey. View the full statement here.
Following the failed coup d’état of 15 July 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and adopted a series of decree-laws that seriously undermined human rights and the rule of law across the country. Although the state of emergency was lifted in July 2018, many of the decree-laws were integrated into ordinary laws and the persecution of lawyers continues, including mass arrests, unfair trials and harsh sentences.
According to the latest information available, since July 2016:
▪ 1546 lawyers have been prosecuted;
▪ Almost 600 lawyers have been arrested;
▪ 274 lawyers have been sentenced to long prison terms – the average prison term being 7 years.
Lawyers are being targeted solely because they are carrying out their professional activities, on the basis of alleged accusations of supporting terrorist organisations. The use of “mass trials” against lawyers or lawyers’ associations is frequent and fundamental rights and procedural safeguards are often not respected.